Union Power Offers Heat Pump Financing

Comfort and convenience are what today’s energy efficient heat pumps are all about! Energy efficient, electric heat pumps offer both the comfort of heating during the long winter months and cooling during the dog days of summer. So when it’s time to replace your old heating system, make the choice for a new energy-efficient electric heat pump and take advantage of Union Power Cooperative’s financing program.

Heat Pump Loan Program Guidelines

  • The interest rate will be fixed for the term of the loan.
  • The current rate is 9%.
  • Maximum loan amount is $7,500.
  • Term 60

Voter Resources to Help Keep You Informed

North Carolina’s primary election is Tuesday, March 15, and electric cooperatives, including Union Power, are paying close attention to the candidates’ stance on energy issues, as well as other issues that may affect our local communities. There are some great resources available to provide members with the knowledge necessary to make decisions about candidates and about how energy issues impact Union Power, its members and our local communities.

Statewide Resources for Co-op Voters

Be looking for a special voter guide provided on pages 26-27 of the March issue of Carolina Country magazine, as well as an online voter guide found at carolinacountry.com/vote. Both resources will be available for cooperative members as a resource without commentary or conjecture. The online guide will be continually updated, and these resources are provided to help North Carolina electric co-op members educate themselves before heading out to the polls on March 15.

National Resource for Co-op Voters

Another great resource is Co-ops Vote, a non-partisan, nationwide effort launched by America’s electric cooperatives to promote voter participation in the communities they serve. Like the statewide resources, this initiative does not endorse specific candidates for office but only seeks to provide voter information for everyone. The new website, vote.coop, offers:

  • Information on the voter registration process in their state
  • Election dates, absentee and early voting info and a polling place locator
  • Candidate information
  • News and social media feeds to help members stay informed

Together, co-ops and their members can be a voice to help navigate the changing energy industry to determine what’s best for cooperatives and local communities. Union Power encourages members to set aside time to research the available information and exercise their right to vote.

 

Top Five Energy Users in Your Home

Most homeowners would like to be more energy efficient and save money, but sometimes don’t know where to start. Knowing what the top energy users are in the home can help the average family use less energy, lower their utility bill and still meet their daily energy needs.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Agency, the top five energy users in U.S. homes are:
  1. Space cooling
  2. Space heating
  3. Water heating
  4. Lighting
  5. Refrigeration
Top Five Energy Users
Top Five Energy Users
Adjust the temperature

Together, home heating and cooling take the biggest bite out of your energy budget. These few simple low-cost or no-cost steps can help achieve at least 10 percent savings:

  • During cold weather, set your thermostat to 68 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • During warm weather, the recommended indoor temperature is 78 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Cleaning the filters of your HVAC system can cut costs from five to 15 percent.
  • Clean the coils around your electric baseboard heater to maintain maximum efficiency.
  • Caulk and weather-strip around windows and doors to prevent heat from escaping to the outdoors.

And no matter what the climate or time of year, proper use of a programmable thermostat can save you 10 percent on your monthly utility bill.

Shine the light on savings

Look at the lighting in your home. If you still use incandescent lighting, your light bulbs are operating at only 25 percent energy efficiency. Replacing your home’s five most frequently used bulbs with Energy Star-certified LEDs can save you $75 per year. Another easy way to save is to always turn lights off in rooms that are not being used.

Water heating efficiency

Just as it is energy-wise to insulate your roof, wall or floor, it also pays to wrap your hot water heater with an insulating blanket. This is all the more critical if you have an older unit. Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions. For additional efficiency and savings, insulate exposed hot water lines and drain one to two gallons of water from the bottom of your tank annually to prevent sediment build-up.

Put cold hard cash back in your wallet

If your refrigerator was purchased before 2001, chances are it uses 40 percent more energy than a new Energy Star model. If you are considering an appliance update, a new Energy Star refrigerator uses at least 15 percent less energy than non-qualified models and 20 percent less energy than required by current federal standards. Regardless of the age of your fridge, there are additional steps you can take to save energy and money. For example, don’t keep your refrigerator too cold. The Department of Energy recommends temperatures of 35 – 38 degrees Fahrenheit for the fresh food compartment and 0 degrees Fahrenheit for separate freezers (used for long-term storage).

By understanding how your home uses energy, you can determine the best ways to modify energy use and keep more money in your wallet. For additional ways to save, click here.

 

Bright Ideas Grants Top $10 Million in North Carolina

 

  • North Carolina’s network of electric cooperatives collectively has contributed $10.2 million to classrooms statewide through Bright Ideas education grants.
  • Grants have funded innovative, hands-on classroom projects statewide for more than 20 years, funding more than 9,800 projects and benefiting more than 2 million students.
  • Union Power has contributed nearly $334,000 in funding for projects benefitting thousands of students in our 5-county service area since 1994.

Bright Ideas grants are awarded to local teachers by each of North Carolina’s 26 electric cooperatives, including Union Power. The grants fund creative learning projects in all subject areas and are available to Tar Heel teachers in grades K-12.

“Reaching this $10 million milestone demonstrates the electric cooperatives’ unwavering commitment to the communities we serve,” said Carrie Stroud, Union Power’s manager of communications. “Bright Ideas grants have allowed us to work with many exceptional teachers to bring exciting new resources to the classroom and make a real difference for students. It’s a tradition we’re proud to continue.”

Last year, the Cooperative awarded more than $21,000 to 14 teachers for projects that benefited 3,200+ students. Surprise visits to schools in November included a Harrisburg Elementary assembly where Carolina Panthers players and mascot Sir Purr helped Union Power personnel honor teachers Amye Smereka, Angela Gardner and Kathy Braswell with the money to fund these projects: “The Classroom Embryology Project,” “Global Garden,” and “Paper, Paper and More Paper!” Learn more and see last year’s winners here.

Bright Ideas grant applications are accepted annually from April through September and can be found at www.ncbrightideas.com.